MILAN DESIGN WEEK 2022
LEXUS: SPARKS OF TOMORROW
Lexus unveiled its exhibit at the 2022 edition of Milan Design Week, showcasing the brand’s design philosophy and exemplifying Lexus’ commitment to sustainability.This year’s event, Lexus: Sparks of Tomorrow, presented a trio of design explorations, all inspired by Lexus’ human-centred, future-oriented approach to design. Compelling and engaging, Lexus: Sparks of Tomorrow, included an immersive installation by award-winning architect and designer Germane Barnes with lighting studio Aqua Creations, new prototypes from LEXUS DESIGN AWARD 2022 finalists, and work by students at London’s Royal College of art envisioning a more sustainable future.
“We were excited to return to Milan Design Week with an incredible array of projects that highlighted next generation design and our commitment at Lexus to forging a path towards a carbon-neutral future through technology, craftsmanship, and innovation,” commented Brian Bolain, Lexus’ global head of marketing. “We were especially thrilled to be able to present the work of the LEXUS DESIGN AWARD 2022 finalists and Royal College of Arts students in the context of Germane Barnes’s ON/ installation, in its second iteration here with lighting design studio Aqua Creations. It was great to see how the public engaged with the Lexus presentation, and make our vision for the future their own.”
Developed in partnership with Lexus and Germane Barnes, the ON/ installation gave a vision for an electrified, carbon-neutral and human-centred future. The display showcased the Lexus RZ, the first Lexus dedicated battery-electric model. Rendered in a wire frame suspended just above the ground, the vehicle’s interpretation embodied Lexus' vision of a more sustainable future coming into focus and embracing the ideas of electrification, technology, and bespoke design. The RZ was illuminated by Aqua Creations’ Code 130° silk collection of colourful pendant lights, which added a material quality to the immersive installation reflecting Lexus’ vision for a carbon-neutral future becoming a reality. The installation was accompanied by a lounge area featuring the new ToTeM lighting collection by Aqua Creations.
“It was thrilling to revisit the ON/ installation with Lexus and bring the display to Milan,” said Germane Barnes, principal of Studio Barnes. “The original ON/ exhibit featured the LF-Z, a concept car that signalled a move toward carbon neutrality. Now, with the RZ, we explored the evolution from concept to reality, partnering with Aqua Creations to create an environment that is infused with heightened sense of materiality. Designing for a future that is collaborative, sustainable, equitable, and prioritises the unique experiences of individuals is both a driving force of my practice and an exciting synergy with the designers showcased across Sparks of Tomorrow.”
Visitors also had the opportunity to explore the work of the six finalists of the LEXUS DESIGN AWARD 2022, promising talent. Finalists were chosen for their original solutions contributing to a better tomorrow, while articulating the Lexus brand's three core principles – Anticipate, Innovate, and Captivate; while seamlessly enhancing the happiness of all, by a panel of design luminaries. The finalists spent three months developing their original proposals and creating prototypes under the enthusiastic and highly skilled mentors. Mentoring by the world's leading creators was a once-in-a-lifetime learning experience for these up-and-coming talents and it is recognised as a feature of this Award.
Lexus’ presentation also included work by students presenting radical new luxury transport concepts in a creative programme commissioned by Lexus, “2040: The Soul of Future Premium” for the Royal College of Art in London, UK. The project challenged postgraduate students at the college’s Intelligent Mobility Design Centre (IMDC) to explore new vehicle architectures to meet changes in European city life and society and to re-imagine the role Lexus might play as a luxury mobility brand. The six-month programme included mentoring and assessment sessions with Ian Cartabiano and Lance Scott, respectively President and Senior Manager at Lexus’ European design studio, ED2, together with Prof Dale Harrow, Chair of the IMDC, and Dr Chris Thorpe, the RCA’s Intelligent Mobility Head of Programme.
About Germane Barnes
Germane Barnes is the director of Studio Barnes, and Associate Professor at the University of Miami School of Architecture. Barnes’ practice investigates the connection between architecture and identity, examining architecture’s social and political agency through historical research and design speculation. Believing strongly in design as a communal process, he approaches each condition imposed on a project as an opportunity for transformation.
He was a winner of the 2021 United States Artists Fellowship, 2021 Wheelwright Prize, 2021 Architectural League Prize for Young Architects and Designers, and is a 2021-2022 Rome Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Rome.